A former judge is being sued by the Texas Center of Defense for Life (TCDL) for neglecting to remove a young girl from the home of a registered sex offender, where she was eventually raped and her grandmother murdered. The judge, Terry Flenniken, sent the girl back home with her step-grandma, Jean Slovacek, and Slovacek’s boyfriend, Edward Clinton Lee, after the girl appeared in his court accusing the couple of trying to force her to have an abortion. The hearing occurred in February, 2012 when the girl was 15 years old.
It is not known why the girl was not living with her biological mother at the time. She had been living with her biological grandfather when he and his wife, Slovacek, divorced and she was granted shared custody of the girl with the biological mother. Slovacek eventually moved in with her boyfriend, Lee, and cut all contact with the girl’s mother.
It was not until the girl got pregnant and contacted her mother, Angela Belcher, in hopes of getting help to keep her baby that Belcher knew where the girl was located. The girls was being pressured by Slovacek, Lee and her biological grandfather to abort the baby, a course of action she did not wish to take. Once the girl reached out to her mother, Belcher contacted the TCDL to get legal representation to help get a restraining order against Lee in order to protect her daughter.
Lee is a registered sex offender who has already spend nearly a decade in prison on past charges after he exposed himself to a different young girl.
It is in reference to this restraining order and to a motion filed to have custody of the girl be returned in full to Belcher that the girl ended up before Judge Flenniken in February 2012. During the hearing the girl spoke privately with the judge, where she detailed the advances from Lee that she had been forced to endure or try to protect herself from. She reported having to stuff toilet paper in key holes, sleep in her clothing for fear of changing into pajamas, and use her dresser to barricade him from the room. She also reported him entering the bathroom while she showered, trying to see her undress and offering her money to strip.
The judge reportedly responded by asking if she was sure about what she was saying before proceeding back into the courtroom as if she had said nothing at all. She was sent home to live with Lee and Slovacek. The decision made by this judge from Texas led to him being sued after the young girl was raped in the very home Flenniken sent her to live in.
In June, 2012, four months after being sent home, the young girl, who had been forced to go through with the abortion, found herself being tied to her bed and raped by Lee. Slovacek was sleeping at the time but awoke and attempted to intervene before Lee shot her in front of the girl. He raped the girl again and eventually she was able to escape from the bindings and was forced to run naked through the streets until she found help. Lee was arrested in the home quickly thereafter. He pled guilty to murder, kidnapping and rape in April 2013 and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
The lawsuit brought against the Flenniken claims the he had been neglectful of his legal responsibilities by not reporting the girl’s accusations to the authorities and by sending her back to live with Slovacek and Lee despite the fact that Lee was a registered sex offender and the girl did not wish to stay in the home any longer. It has been reported that he refuses to comment on the lawsuit because he feels it would be inappropriate for a judge to do so. He has also reportedly not read the lawsuit yet.
Also being sued are three officials from the school the girl attended who neglected to report her accusations of abuse to the proper authorities in an incident prior to the events leading up to the court date with Flenniken.
In autumn of 2011, mere months before the girl became pregnant, she was assigned an essay in which she was to write about the best or worst thing that had happened. She sought and allegedly received permission to write about events that were currently happening to her under the condition that she change all the names in the story. The essay she turned in was a story about a man who handcuffs a girl to her bed and removes her clothing while she feels helpless to avoid being raped. The essay also mentions the girl using her dresser as a barricade to keep the man away from her.
Her teacher took the essay to two school principals. Instead of contacting any institution to report the potential of abuse, the three chose to contact the girl’s guardians, Slovacek and Lee. Once they read the essay, they forced the girl to admit to lying and apologize to her teacher. School officials allowed the incident to be dropped after that.
Apart from being sued alongside the Texas judge for their roles in not helping a young girl protect herself from being raped, the three are being brought up on misdemeanor criminal charges for not reporting the essay, as is required by law.
Written by: Vanessa Blanchard